Participant Setting:

Participant is 10­year old African American boy living in New York. Johnson lives with his father. He is

diagnosed with moderate intellectual disability, Autism and Impulse Control Disorder. Johnson is

verbal and can communicate his needs. He has a history of agitated behavior that is triggered by food. Johnson engages in a disruptive behavior when he cannot get food. He screams and slaps his

face repeatedly with both hands any time he is hungry and cannot get food. The slapping of the face

could be severe­ sometimes leaving visible marks and redness. Johnson is a student but because of

this disruptive behavior, teachers have shown concern that this behavior is affecting his social

relationship with other peers. This study will be confined to Johnson’s home. Participant will be asked

to use a Visual Timer that will beep at the end of one hour. When the timer beeps, Johnson will

request for snack. The timer will then be reset to tick off and beep at the end of another one hour.

Johnson will receive reinforcement from his father when he waits to receive snack from using the



Materials used in the study was Visual Time Clock

Dependent variable

Dependent variable in the study is disruptive behavior defined as screaming and banging hard

surfaces objects like tables and walls at the same time.

Functional Assessment

The experimenter will relied on both direct and an indirect functional behavior assessment (FBA)

conducted through interviews and observations with the participant and participant’s father to gather

the contingencies maintaining his disruptive behavior. The indirect data was collected from Johnson’s

father using ABC sheets. Experimenter also conducted direct observation and collected direct data

with ABC sheets. The outcome of the direct and indirect FBA suggests that his disruptive behavior is

maintained by food reinforcer. When he is hungry, he thinks the only way to get food is by seeking

being disruptive to his significant others to entice them to provide him food. He also thinks that he

can eat anytime he wants to eat even he had just finished eating.


When deprive of food or access to snacks is limited, Johnson will engage in screaming and banging

in an effort to gain access to food or snacks (tangible reinforcer). The experimenter will be

conducted using A­B­A­B design for one week to determine if there is a functional relationship

between disruptive behavior and his need for food. Visual timer set at home­ red surface fades as the

minutes tick off at the end of the hour, the red surface fades off completely and timer beeps.

Johnson will ask for food at this time. His father will praise him and give him snack/food.

Independent Variable

Independent variable in the study is the visual timer and praise.

The experimental design will be A­B­A­B. The antecedents are his want for food and the behavior is

the slapping of self and as a result his father gives him food. The visual timer is to teach him to get food at 1­ hour intervals when he will request for food and food will be given with praise.



1. Create one week baseline using the the above behavior ­ ONE PAGE

2. Introduce intervention using the timer to decrease the baseline behavior ­ ONE PAGE

3. Use a graph showing independent and dependent variable to explain how effective your

intervention is.

4.explain your result.

5. Discussion



Independent Variable

Experimental design involved self­recording, self­reinforcement and feedback. Abel continued to set

up events on calendar and check the events as in the period of baseline. In addition, however, he

received prompt from his wife in the mornings in a single statement as, “remember the calendar” and

a feedback in the evening on events set during the day as well as those checked. The original plan

was for Abel to add experimenter as an invitee on the calendar so that an email could be sent out to

experimenter whenever the calendar was set. Unfortunately, due to technical difficulties the invitation

could not be sent out. Therefore, participant sent a text message once daily in the evenings to

experimenter to report number of events he set up during the day. Abel self­reinforced organized task

with positive comments and a rewarding imoji in the text message sent out to experimenter. He also

received social approval from his wife who was excited that at long last his husband is taking steps to

organize his life. Experimenter supplemented those reinforcers with praise and thumbs up imojis in a

return text message.

During the withdrawal phase, participant continued to mark his calendar of important events but did

not report to experimenter daily via text message. Neither did he receive any prompt or feedback from

wife or feedback from experimenter. He reported to experimenter at the end of the 3 days of



Figure 1 illustrates the effects of self­monitoring with self­reinforcement and feedback on organizing

daily tasks and events. During the 5 days of baseline, Abel scores ranged from 70% to 90% with a

mean score of 82%. On the first day, he attained 70% as he showed high interest in the study due to

its social value to him. He told the experimenter, “I need this and I am not going to play with it.” He

also checked these calendars as often as he received prompts in the form of tones from his iPhone,

and on average of every 2 hours. He reported forgetting two events only during the 5­day period. His goal to attain 70% marking of events daily was met consistently during the baseline period.

During the experiment phase that lasted for 5 days, his scores ranged from 90 to 100 with a mean

score of 96. Thus, mean score rose from 82% at baseline to 96% during the experiment. Moreover,

he reported that he did not forget any event that was important and was marked on the calendar.

Five days into the study, Abel had to make a job­related trip outside the city for 3 days so the

experimenter considered it an opportunity to use those days outside his family as the withdrawal

phase. The results showed that percentage of events marked fell from baseline mean of 82% to 60%

with a range of 50 to 70%. Moreover, he attained his daily goal only once during the 3 days. The

second phase of the experiment started when he returned to the city, using the same methods as in

the first intervention phase. The results showed a return to the intervention phase with a stabilized

mean score of 94%.

Fig. 1. Percentage of events and tasks marked on calendar app of iPhone. Intervention involved selfmonitoring

with self­reinforcement and feedback from wife and change


Self­monitoring has been found to be effective to decrease challenging behaviors Reid, Trout &

Schartz (2005) and increase behaviors (Lloyd, Bateman, Landrum, & Hallahan, 1989; Harris, 1986).

Consistent with these studies, the results of this study demonstrated that self­monitoring is an

effective behavioral approach to improve events and task organization. Self­monitoring was effective

to bring about a change in Abel’s life that counseling and reprimand were not been able to achieve

over a lifetime. Self­monitoring minimized the risk of becoming a victim of coercion (McDougall,

1998), and was preferred over standard instruction (Woloko, Hrycaiko, & Martin, 1993). The study

supports research that functional behavior analysis is an effective method in identifying external

factors that are influential in producing effective self­monitoring. Kern, Ringdahi, Hilt & SterlingTurner

(2001) linked self­monitoring with functional behavior analysis results to choose replacement

behaviors and reported positive results for a group of 4­8­years­olds who were taught to self­manage

appropriate behavior and appropriate request for escape and attention reinforcers. Jones, Nelson &

Kazdin (1977) also reported on the effectiveness of linking self­monitoring procedures to functional

analysis results. This study utilized indirect functional analysis to guide the inclusion of prompts and

feedback from Abel’s wife. The importance of linking feedback to self­monitoring has been well

documented (Richman et al., 1988; Burgio et al., 1983; Winett, Neale & Grier, 1979). The present

study is unique in its application of iPhone calendar app to improve disorganized behavior using selfmonitoring

procedures in conjunction with feedback and self­reinforcement. Self­monitoring is selfrewarding

and can be an effective tool to bring about positive behavior change given its lack of

coercion or semblance thereof, self­reinforcing, self­chosen goals that are achievable without much

ado and value placed on feedback that comes from significant others. It is also important to note that

the effectiveness of current study can be explained by motivating operations. Abel stated that the

intervention was something that he should have gotten a long time in his life. There was a sense of

deprivation that provided the momentum for the behavior change. Fortunately, the short period of

the study did not allow satiation to set in.


The study acknowledges the importance of functional behavior analysis in ascertaining what may be

maintaining the disorganized behavior. However, the study utilized indirect functional analysis only.

Notwithstanding, it is important to note that the experimenter had direct observation of participant

for many years prior to migrating to the United States. The result of the indirect functional analysis is

therefore, a valid assessment of the behavioral function.

Another limitation of the study is that the withdrawal phase occurred when the participant was away

from family. It is possible that the results of the study could be different had the withdrawal phase

occurred with his wife who had been a positive influence in the intervention phase.

Moreover, the study was of a short duration and benefited from deprivation that was evidenced from

the statement of the participant. Further study over a long period of time is warranted to see the

effect when the enthusiasm wears down.


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